Measurements in the energy transition

The energy transition is in full swing. The Netherlands is working on a national transition from fossil fuel power to energy generated from renewable sources. For this, we depend on reliable and traceable measurements.


The importance of metrology in the energy transition

The Netherlands aims to be climate neutral by 2050. Our future energy system will consist of a combination of new forms of energy and renewable sources. Examples include a hydrogen network and the use of synthetic fuels and green heat such as biomass, or weather-dependent energy sources. All these new solutions will have to have a place on the energy grid, often alongside or instead of existing applications.

Metrology plays a key role in this transition. Because the energy sources are new, rules on the composition, price and traceability of the products are not always clear. New energy sources therefore require measurement standards that can determine the quality and credibility of measurements and calibrations.

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Erik van de Graaf
Commercial Director

Measurement challenges in the energy sector

Everyone will be involved in the energy transition. Companies in every sector are implementing major innovations, which entails challenges. One example is energy leaks. The generation and storage of energy involves constant flows of energy between plants, systems and transformers. Small amounts of energy can escape in this process, which can have major consequences for the cost or quality of the products in question.

Added to this, some renewable energy solutions are not always predictable. Consider, for example, solar and wind power generation. It is often difficult to accurately determine the delivery of solar and wind energy and how this is settled financially between parties. The manufacture of hydrogen-powered vehicles also continues to pose challenges. Everyone knows the fuel consumption of their car’s internal combustion engine. But how many kilometres do you get out of the kilograms of hydrogen that you put into your vehicle? More and more manufacturers, producers and consumers are becoming aware of the need for reliable, high-quality measurements.

New measurement methods for new fuels

Alternative fuels such as LNG, biogas and hydrogen are in the spotlight again. The deployment and commercialisation of these new fuels requires us to measure to the same standards worldwide. This is important because without metrology, you cannot be sure whether your smart meter is giving a correct reading. VSL is closely involved in developing standards and researching new fuels and gas compositions. We participate in European projects and publish on new research, results of projects and scientific findings.

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How VSL can help

Businesses and organisations can turn to VSL for all their metrology questions. An independent organisation, we help parties operating in the energy sector to manage their measurement and production processes. We remove barriers to further development and help create quality plans.

For example, VSL has a mobile hydrogen calibration facility which, among other things, can be used to calibrate hydrogen pumps at gas stations. We also have a calibration and testing facility for liquefied natural gas (LNG) as well as a wide range of reference materials. In addition, we work on developing and managing new measurement standards and methods which anyone can use to test their own systems and meters. We cooperate closely with other fellow institutes, knowledge institutions and industry in this regard.

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